1981-1990

Pim de la Parra – Paul Chevrolet en de ultieme hallucinatie AKA Paul Chevrolet and the Ultimate Hallucination (1985)

Paul Chevrolet is the alias of a writer of hard-boiled detective-novels, Leopold (Peter Faber), who still owes his ex-wife Willie (Jenny Arean) a great deal of money. In his latest detective-novel, gangster-boss Boy Pappa (Eddie Constantine) is introduced, who gets pursued by Leopold’s alter ego: Scotty. After writing a philosophical manuscript, ‘The Ultimate Hallucination’, Leopold gets in contact with publisher’s daughter Susanne (Liz Snoyink) who resembles his character Savannah MacKnight. Also, Boy Pappa really seems to exist. From that moment on, reality and fiction intertwine. Read More »

Sheldon Rochlin – Signals Through the Flames: The Story of the Living Theatre (1984)

Quote:
“I CALL FOR A THEATRE IN WHICH THE ACTORS ARE LIKE VICTIMS BURNING AT THE STAKE, SIGNALLING THROUGH THE FLAMES.” – Antonin Artaud

Julian Beck and Judith Malina picked up the torch from Artaud and carried it into the theaters and streets of the world for more than 40 years. Their Living Theatre inspired the off-Broadway movement in the 40’s and 50’s and the radical theatre in the 60’s and 70’s. This tale of social and esthetic breakthrough weaves excerpts from their most controversial productions with on-the-road interviews with Beck and Malina, who define their lifelong commitment to a revolutionary art in which politics and theatre are inseparable. Read More »

Stuart Burge – The Importance of Being Earnest (1986)

Algy and Jack discover that they have both been Bunberrying, that is, assuming different identities in order to enjoy themselves in a guilt-free manner. Jack’s pretending to be his foolish younger brother, Ernest in order to be a model of moral rectitude to his young ward, Cecily. Jack intends to propose to Gwendolyn–that is until he discovers that she loves him because his name is Ernest. He sets about being rechristened. And when Cecily intends to meet her bad cousin Ernest, and Algy seizes the opportunity, it will take the imperious Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism’s recollections about her handbag, and an army list to clear the matter up, and allow true love to run its course. Read More »

Zhuangzhuang Tian – Yaogun Qingnian AKA Rock Kids (1988)

Realistic portraits of Chinese youth embracing western culture. Read More »

Jianxin Huang – Hei pao shi jian AKA The Black Cannon Incident (1985)

Quote:
A key Fifth Generation work released during the second phase of Deng Xiaoping’s social and economic reforms, this robust social satire delightfully depicts the clash between the rising class of rapid industrial modernizers and old Party cadres with a serious Cultural Revolution hangover. The film chronicles the Kafkaesque predicament of a bumbling factory translator who is suspected of industrial espionage after sending an innocent telegram that is intercepted by a militant snoop. (The “black cannon” of the title refers to the missing chess piece the hapless hero is trying to locate.) Placed under investigation and reassigned to a less sensitive department but never informed of the reason for his demotion, he petitions to get his job back, sparking an increasingly obtuse and hilarious series of Party meetings, set in a boardroom straight out of German Expressionism. Read More »

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Pekin no suika AKA Beijing Watermelon (1989)

Contemporary Japanese Film by Mark Schilling (1999):

Topicality is tricky. Sylvester Stallone’s one-man war in Afghanistan in Rambo III might have suited the Evil Empire mentality of the early 1980s, but in 1988, with Russian troops rapidly withdrawing from the country, it was ludicrous. Rambo was battling a Cold War ghost.

Beijing Watermelon, which tells the story of a Chiba vegetable seller’s encounter with Chinese students, was also overtaken by events. Filming scheduled for Beijing had to be canceled because of the tragedy at Tienanmen Square. But instead of plugging away as though nothing had happened, director Nobuhiko Obayashi seized the opportunity to comment on that tragedy and make one of the most original, moving films in recent memory. Read More »

Yoshihiko Matsui – Tonkei shinjû aka Pig-Chicken Suicide (1981)

Directed by Japanese underground legend Yoshihiko Matsui, most famous for his epic film Noisy Requiem and his early work with maverik Japanese director Sogo Ishii (Gojoe, Crazy Thunder Road), Pig Chicken Suicide is a veritable assault on the senses, mixing violent images of animal slaughter, racial strife and surrealism to tell the story of two Koreans living in Japan who’s love is destroyed due to overwhelming racial discrimination. Read More »